Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the states to act against “self-styled” cow vigilante groups, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday warned those violating law on the pretext of cow protection of stern action. He also batted for dairy farmers who are being harassed in the name of ‘gau raksha’ (cow protection).
On the sidelines of a sangat darshan (public meet) programme in Hoshiarpur assembly segment, Badal said dairy farming is an allied agricultural activity that supplements the income of farmers in a big way. “This should not be discouraged at any cost,” he said, adding that everyone should exercise restraint and permit cattle trade with valid documentation to go on.
On August 1, dairy farmers of Punjab had accused cow protection groups of hurting the Rs 2,500-crore cow-breeding business in the state, alleging that their flourishing business of selling high-yielding cows to other states had come to a halt.
Led by the Punjab Progressive Dairy Farmers’ Association, they had also accused the ruling SAD-BJP regime in the state of “creating obstacles” such as asking for no-objection certificates (NOCs) to sell cows to other states.
They had given an ultimatum to the government to roll back the NOC norm by August 10, failing which, they had threatened to take to streets.
Replying to a query on Saturday’s murderous attack on RSS leader Brigadier (retired) Jagdish Gagneja at Jalandhar, Badal said it was not an “ordinary law-and-order problem”, adding that the state police was looking into it and the culprits would be brought to book soon. He termed the attack on Gagneja a “deep-rooted conspiracy”.
Replying to another query, Badal said the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will announce the names of its candidates for the 2017 Assembly polls in Punjab “at an appropriate time”, adding that “too early” or “too late” an announcement was “not beneficial”.